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Flying High - SATELLITE 2011 Wrap Up

March 20, 2011
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The 2011 SATELLITE Conference had more than 10,000 attendees from 70 countries taking place in Washington D.C. last week. The exhibition grew to more than 325 companies with more than 60 of which are exhibiting for the first time. Although there was an outdoor exhibit this year, it was very small (two companies – Hughes and L-3), but I think this is great idea if they can get more participation next year. Traffic seemed little better than last year and there were actually small crowds at the doors just prior to opening on the first 2 days.

The SATELLITE 2011 Conference began with chief executives from the world’s four largest satellite operators discussing the future of the satellite marketplace. The conference’s other sessions included High Throughput Satellites: Broadband and Beyond; A New Generation of MSS Terminals: What’s Next for MSS Equipment: Hosted Payloads: Thinking Outside the Box; 3-D TV via Satellite: Building Foundations for Success: Earth Observation- A Luxury Item or a Commodity?; How Can Commercial Satellite Providers Best Meet Government Requirements for COTM?; Satellites and Broadcasting: A 30-Year Warning, among many others.

There were a large number of RF/microwave companies attending (seemed like more than in the past), ranging from T&M to antennas to components. The best represented were filter and high power amplifier companies along with the system companies like L-3, Cobham, Rockwell Collins, Boeing, GD, LMC, Hughes, Thales, EADS, etc. Here is what the RF/microwave companies we visited were showing off in their booths including some selected video demos:

Video Demos taken at the show:

Actox is the first manufacturer to introduce a 7 W Extended (13.75-14.5GHz) Ku-Band BUC, which has been requested by many users. It offers low cost and power consumption in a small package. The unit features a double L.O. (12.80 and 13.05 GHz), field exchangeable IF connector, digital temperature compensation, L.O. and Amplifier LED’s.

Advantech Wireless released a new smaller, lighter, compact mobile transportable DVB-RCS hub. The new hub is really a turn-key satellite communications system which can be deployed in less than 1 hour, to enable a wide range of public and/or private network topologies with satellite interactive terminals. I was impressed with their broad line of GaN Ku- and X-band BUCs ranging from 50 to 500 W. The 500 W Ku-band unit was on display connected to a system.

Anritsu Company introduced the MS272xC Spectrum Master series that provides the broadest frequency range ever available in a handheld spectrum analyzer. Providing frequency coverage up to 43 GHz in an instrument that weighs less than 8 lbs., the MS272xC series is also designed with an assortment of applications to test the RF physical layer, making it easier than ever for field technicians, monitoring agencies and engineers to monitor over-the-air signals, locate interferers, and detect hidden transmitters. See their video demos.

Cobham was showing off a wide variety of electronics including cables, antennas, components and systems. Their SAT1733-S Ka/Ku-band transportable sitcom antenna system was on display from Sensor systems in Bolton, MA. The 1 m antenna system can acquire and track Ka- and Ku-band satellites and pass the data signal along to an external data receiver.

The bCODAN low cost Mini-BUCs were on display and are purpose-built for VSAT stabilised platforms and satcom-on-the-move customers, while also offering benefits for fixed site and offshore applications. Distinctive features include: Designed and tested to +70°C operation, excellent phase noise performance, excellent gain stability and guaranteed specified min P1 dB power.

Crane Aerospace & Electronics introduced the Interpoint MFP SeriesTM of POL converters. The first products in a new line of Point of Load converters, the MFP Series offers Maximum Flexibility through its rich feature set and is designed to produce stable power across a wide temperature range of -70° to +150° C. The MFP Series delivers exceptionally low noise performance, requiring no external capacitors. See their video for a close of this product.

DAWNco introduced the BEST C-band LNB for optimum performance with HD digital sat receivers, and other high data rate applications and best-in-industry stability rating of +- 05 KHz, with 1dB Gain Compression of +10dBm. 3.4-4.2Ghz input at CPR229G flange, converted to 950-1750 output on 75 Ohm "F" style connector. The unit is Phase Lock Looped (PLL) and has a Low Noise Temperature. This unit is weatherproof/ hermetically sealed.

dBm was featuring their satellite Link Emulator that provides a cost-effective, time-saving, repeatable total solutions for satellite and aircraft RF link testing. Accurate simulation of propagation delays, flat fading, path loss, phase shift and Doppler shifts let the systems engineers create realistic, full-duplex path scenarios.

Delta Microwave was featuring a Ka-band IMUX channel filter. It is a high power filter with 36 MHz channels that is amplitude and group delay synchronized. Delta makes a wide variety of space qualified products and integrated assemblies. EADS Astrium/Linear Space Technology had a GaN UHF SSPA available with 180 W, 78% efficiency, small signal gain of 70 dB and weighin 1.2 kg. Linear Space Technology designs and manufactures SSPAs and driver modules in cooperation with LST and Astrium for mobile communications applications.

EM Research was showing a variety of products including the HFS-2500, MXO-100, LX-1750, ZLX-1450, HFS-2150. SLX-1450, and the THOR-13050. The MXO-100 is a GPS-disciplined oscillator that accepts a one pulse per sec reference input from a GPS receiver with simultaneous outputs of 10, 20, 70 and 100 MHz with low phase noise characteristics.

EMC Technology was showing a RoHS DC-12.4 GHz coaxial attenuator 42XXF. This new and improved version of the 42XX series of SMA coaxial attenuators is offered in commercial or high reliability versions for a wide range of applications. EMC coaxial attenuators are manufactured with a stainless steel body and a standard SMA male/female interface, and are smaller and lighter weight than those currently on the market.

EMS Defense & Space Division is a leading supplier of antenna systems and beam management for a broad range of military and commercial applications, including mobile network-centric operations, radar for battlefield visibility and commercial aero connectivity. EMS is one of the few companies that still make ferrite materials from scratch for high power circulators/isolators. They announced at the show that they will provide cost-effective L-band communications hardware (32 X 48 switch matrix) for Iridium NEXT, Iridium Communications Inc.’s next-generation constellation of low-earth orbiting (LEO) cross-linked satellites. Thales Alenia Space, the satellite prime contractor, awarded EMS a contract to provide the fast switch matrix (FSM) for the Iridium NEXT payload. Upon completion of the project in 2015, Iridium NEXT will support L-band data speeds of 1.5 Mbps with global coverage and a capacity of up to three million subscribers. See the video of their satcom system demo.

FilTel has decided to focus on military and satcom applications in addition to its commercial work. They were displaying a wide variety of filters, waveguide and adaptors, circulator/isolators and other components and sub-systems.

Florida RF Labs had various products on display but I liked their cable assembly selector guide which is an easy to use slider type insert for all their cable products where you select insertion loss, physical and electrical data and the indicator displays the cable type.

Integral Systems announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, RT Logic, has introduced a new version of its satID Geolocation System. satID version 2.7 continues Integral Systems’ long history of delivering the most innovative and trusted Radio Frequency (RF) interference mitigation solutions available on the market. See the video demo from RT Logic.

L-3/Narda had a wide array of devices, sub-systems and systems on display. They had various mini-TWT power amplifier modules. The miniaturization was very impressive including a 30 W module that is 2 to 45 GHz capable. They also had a Ku-band satcom data link for Predator reconnaissance system. It utilizes commercial, geostationary satellite fort full-duplex satcom linking the Predator UAV to a remote control exploitation complex.

Linwave had on display a wide variety of diodes, devices, packages and MMIC solutions. One example was the LWA10248 which is a 30 to 512 MHz, 20 W multi-band amplifiers. Designed to work with any tactical half duplex radio or radio repeater with a minimum transmit power of .5 W, the unit can be configured to work with AM, FM and all types of digital modulation.

Micronetics was featuring their Ku-band high power transceivers. The A271001 family is designed for use in bi-directional broadband communications links on commercial and military aircraft. It is powered directly from the aircraft and includes a block up/downconverter, high power amplifier, 10 MHz OCXO and power regulation/distribution.

Mitec had on display their C- and Ku-band BUCs with powers up to 800 W for C-band and 100 W for Ku-band. These are VSAT medium and high power up-converters with high efficiency resulting in a compact form factor that is lightweight and reliable.

MITEQ was showing off their DBS-band, 17.3 to 18.4 GHz, upconverter with 1 KHz step size to expand MITEQ’s 9900 series converters and its newest member of the outdoor TWTA family, the MT2100. MITEQ’s unique 1/3 Rack, 1U high converters are now available in L-, S-, C-, X-, Ku- and Ka-bands. They also had a wide variety of antenna mount TWTA for uplink applications up to 500 W.

Rogers Corporation introduced RT/duroid® 6035HTC, a new high thermal conductivity (1.44 W/mk) laminate that provides excellent heat transfer away from high power devices. It is excellent for military and other high reliability applications.

Symmetricom announced the signing of a Joint Marketing Agreement (JMA) to market and sell Jackson Lab's CSAC GPSDO timing and frequency board with Symmetricom's newest member of the QUANTUM™ family of atomic oscillators, the SA.45s Chip Scale Atomic Clock (CSAC). The SA.45s CSAC will be utilized as a holdover oscillator for the COTS CSAC GPSDO (Global Positioning System Disciplined Oscillator). The incorporation of the SA.45s CSAC in the CSAC GPSDO is especially well-suited for GPS-denied environments and is targeted for incorporation into dismounted IED jammers; unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs); next-generation man-pack radios and military handheld GPS units.

TACO Antenna’s was showing off their new high-gain Manpack Antenna that is designed for UHF SATCOM-on-the-move communications. The SAT-MP-320 covers the entire frequency band (240-400 MHz) with 12 dBic gain. This single piece antenna and tripod unit deploys in under one minute with no additional parts. Built to military standards, this rugged yet small antenna includes a durable nylon carrying bag.

Taconic was featuring their TSM-DX family of thermally stable, low loss cores (Df = .0010/.0011 at 10 GHz) that can be manufactured with predictable and consistent properties like fiberglass reinforced epoxies. It has high thermal conductivity, low (~5%) fiberglass content and good dimensional stability.

TECOM was showing off their Ku broadband antenna system for in-flight connectivity that is now military grade. KuStream 1500 has higher power (40 W) and works with major military modem suppliers.

Teledyne was well represented with Teledyne Cougar, Microwave and Microelectronics. Microelectronics was showing off their micro dosimeter in a compact microcircuit package that directly measures total ionizing dose absorbed by an internal silicon test mass.

Times/SV Micro had a nice cable prep tool that stripped the outer and inner installation and even de-burred the center conductor. They also had low PIM cable connectors and multi-cable harnesses.

Thales was well represented and featured their 17.3-22 GHz Ka-band TWT. Their TWT products cover all bands and power levels for the satcom markets including a 550 W peak Ka-band unit. The also have developed very wide band units that can replace dual tube units. In addition, they showed off their ion thruster which was a very cool unit (I want to get one just to say I have it).

Wavestream introduced 400 W C-band SSPAs that are plug and play replacements for traditional unlinearized 750 W TWTAs. They also announced that their amplifiers were installed and operating at HBO’s network and transmission facility in NY. Wireless Telecom Group/Boonton showed their UFX 7000A, a precision noise generator that is well equipped for emulating noise in Ka-band satellite communication links and signal paths in digital microwave radios. They also were describing why to replace RF detectors for pulse power measurements (more on this coming online).

Work Microwave had a very interesting Handheld Satcom Test Source is an easy to use all-in-one test instrument, that eliminates the need for several independent test sources. It is an ideal product for the following applications: Signal source for measurement of different parameters of satellite up-converters, usable as ordinary low phase noise dual carrier signal generator and combined source for block-up converters (L-Band, 10 MHz and 24 V DC).

Recent Articles by Pat Hindle

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